An adverbial is either a prepositional phrase or an adverb phrase.
- A prepositional phrase is a verb phrase in , followed by an argument:
- For example: tì sóaq “in the garden” / shìu tîshaı súq cy “before you leave”.
- An adverb phrase is a verb phrase in .
- For example: hũıneq “unfortunately” / bũ “not”.
In both cases, the (serial) head of the verb phrase is called the head verb of the adverbial. For example, the head verb of bù tỉ sóaq is bu; the head verb of hũıneq is huıneq.
The verb class of this head verb determines the type of an adverbial:
- If the verb is a “regular” verb, the adverbial is a type I or low adverbial.
- But if the verb class is Tense, Aspect, Modality, or Negation, the adverbial is a type II or high adverbial.
Type I adverbials
Type I adverbials a.k.a. low adverbials can occur in the prenex, or before or after the arguments in a sentence. They simply “dress up” the sentence with more details:
Shũı bı, nỏaq tì sóaq jí sa kủe lũq gùq hóe da.
Secretly, in the garden I read a book calmly under the sun.
This sentence says that I read a book, and this happens secretly, and this happens calmly, and this happens in the garden, and this happens under the sun.
It isn't permitted to place adverbials between the arguments, i.e. between jí and sa kủe.
Type II adverbials
Type II adverbials a.k.a. high adverbials can only occur (in the prenex or) at the end of a clause.
They scope over the verbal complex and the post-field (i.e. over the “verb and arguments and Type I adverbials” that is rest of the sentence).
Because they express tense, aspect, modality or negation, type II adverbials have a meaning where they “wrap around” the sentence and can cause it to be un-asserted, rather than just adding more details.
(That is to say: unlike with Type I adverbials, “maybe they're sick” does not mean “they're sick, and this is happening maybe.” We are not just dressing up the sentence with details: we are placing it in a new modality context.)
The semantics of type II adverbials are governed by this wrapping behavior, as demonstrated in these examples:
Rủao jí súq bũ da.
I forgive you not.
This sentence says that it's not the case that I forgive you, i.e. bủ rûao jí súq.
Lẽ bı bỉa nháo da.
Likely, they are sick.
This sentence says that it's possible that they are sick, i.e. lẻ bîa nháo.
- What are all the verb classes? Are there other Type II verb classes than TAMN?
- Is the verb class of a serial verb really always determined by the verb class of its head? I think it is.
- I write that adverbials can occur in the prenex, but is this really true? The refgram does not mention it but it is common usage.
- What does Dãı dĩ bı bỉa jí lẽ bũ mean? I think it just means Dảı dî lê bû bîa jí but I'm not sure.